Border Patrol agents in the Rio Grande Valley Sector are reporting “large groups” of illegal immigrants crossing the Texas border with Mexico, according to a statement circulated Tuesday. They are mostly composed of unaccompanied minors and families from Central America.
During a two-day period last week, Border Patrol agents assigned to the Weslaco Station reported the apprehension of 112 migrants in two large groups that crossed the border from Mexico illegally on Friday and Saturday. The arrests occurred near the Texas border town of Hidalgo, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials on Tuesday morning.
“As these family units and unaccompanied children continue to illegally flow into the United States, agents are pulled from the field to process, jeopardizing operational control of the border,” RGV Sector Chief Patrol Agent Manuel Padilla, Jr. said in a written statement.
In one incident on Friday, Weslaco Station agents came upon a group of 37 who crossed the border near Hidalgo. The following day, agents from the same station came upon a group of 75 illegal immigrants.
Officials said that the groups were mostly Family Unit Aliens (FMUA) and Unaccompanied (UAC) Alien Children from Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras. Of the 112 illegal aliens arrested, 14 were unaccompanied minors.
The Rio Grande Valley Sector continuously leads the nation in illegal border crossings–particularly those involving UACs and FMUAs. During the month of March, the numbers of illegal border crossers skyrocketed. The apprehension of illegal immigrants along our southwestern border with Mexico in March jumped by 203 percent when compared to the same month in 2017, Breitbart Texas reported.
Officials report that agents in the Rio Grande Valley (RGV) Sector arrested 61 percent of the total number of FMUAs arrested in March. The number of FMUAs arrested in the RGV Sector jumped from 3,222 in February to 5,293 in March—an increase of 64 percent.
Border Patrol Agent Chris Cabrera told Breitbart Texas, in his capacity as vice president of the National Border Patrol Council Local 3307, that the numbers are increasing because of the continuing “catch and release” policies of the federal government.
“We are seeing an increase in apprehensions, most notably those seeking some type of asylum,” Cabrera said. “With catch and release still going on, those numbers are growing larger daily. Catch and release is taxing our ability to secure the border.”
He explained that the catch and release policies “cause a chain effect where more agents are being tied up processing them and less in the field to apprehend those avoiding detection.”
The numbers of minors and families crossing the border jumped to levels last seen at the peak of the Obama era when tens of thousands crossed in record-setting numbers.
In response to the massive increase in illegal border crossings, President Donald Trump called for the deployment of up to 4,000 National Guard troops.
Governor Abbott said there is a “mathematical need” to send National Guard troops to the Mexican border. The governor has already deployed members of the Texas National Guard to the border. He plans to deploy up to 1,400 soldiers and airmen along the Texas border.
“You need to understand that there is a mathematical need for this because the people coming across the border have increased dramatically,” Abbott said on Fox and Friends Monday morning, “more than 200 percent month on month in the month of March, of what it was the year before.”
“What is going on is people don’t just happen to come into the United States,” the Texas governor explained. “They get here by the drug cartels and by the coyotes who bring them across. Every time we have increased the forces on the ground, there has been a decrease of the cartel activity and coyote activity because they realize they will be losing money. Part of our job is to put these cartels and coyotes out of business. Whenever we are able to ramp up the support on the ground, it puts them out of business, and it’s going to make the border a far more secure place.”
Bob Price serves as associate editor and senior political news contributor for Breitbart Texas. He is a founding member of the Breitbart Texas team. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX, GAB, and Facebook.
(Disclosure: Breitbart Texas sponsored the Green Line podcast for the NBPC in an effort to provide a platform for agents to inform the public about the realities on the border and what Border Patrol agents face. Director Brandon Darby received an award from the Laredo chapter of the NBPC for his work in helping to defend and bring a voice to Border Patrol agents. Breitbart News assisted in covering funeral costs for a slain Border Patrol agent previously.)